Kale & Lentil Soup with Indian Flavors

Lentil & Kale Soup with Indian Flavors

Snowed in? Lovely, no doubt, but maybe not so much if you have to be at work this morning, and must shovel your way out in sub-zero, real-feel temps.

Brrrr…view from my window - there's a lot to shovel.

Brrrr…view from my window – there’s a lot to shovel.

Here’s a soup I made – mostly from pantry staples. It’s subcontinent heat soothes my tired winter soul, while the nourishment from the lentils, kale and spices provides a welcome antidote from my overdose of fa-la-la-la-la I’m packing away with the ornaments.

You may not have access to the seasonings I used in the following recipe, but not to worry. Your soup will be delicious with whatever curry seasonings you can devise. According to the label on my ajwain seed bottle, it is “… a traditional addition to many Indian and Pakistani dishes. Shaped like a celery seed, ajwain is especially useful in vegetarian lentil and bean dishes, party as a flavoring, party because ajwain has the ability to temper the effects of a legume based diet.” Good to know!

Lentil soups are the easiest soups to make and thicken to a lovely consistency. Really, all you need are a few aromatics –  a carrot, onion, perhaps a stalk of celery – water or stock, lentils, and pantry spices and 40 minutes later you’ve a scratch-made, nourishing soup. Potatoes or eggplant on hand? Dice ’em up and toss ’em into the brew. I enjoy the cooling counterpoint of a dollop of plain Greek yogurt spooned over the soup before eating.

Click here for my favorite collection of soup recipes handy to have when hunger taps the frosty panes.

Recipe: Lentil & Kale Soup with Indian Flavors


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 2 heaping tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon black cumin seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ajwain (see above notes)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 5-7 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups red or brown lentils, washed
  • 8-10 cups packed kale, sliced into ribbons
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, optional
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Plain yogurt, optional


  1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Stir in onion, and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook until onion softens, about 8 minutes stirring occasionally, then stir in ginger, curry, cumin seeds, ajwain and garlic. Cook an additional minute then add tomatoes and 5 cups of the stock.
  2. Stir in lentils then bring to a boil; reduce to medium-low heat and cook, stirring every 5 minutes, 15 minutes. Stir in kale and additional stock if soup is very thick; continue cooking an additional 30 minutes, or until kale is tender and lentils are very tender, incorporated into the liquid. (Note that in the last 10 minutes of cooking time, it’s important to stir often so the bottom does not burn.)
  3. Season to taste with kosher salt and red pepper flakes. Stir in cilantro, if using, and garnish with a dollop of yogurt, if using.

Number of servings (yield): 6

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.



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